Saint Pierre & Miquelon, Newfoundland

Sep 08, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer

Our first day of expedition, and although we are more than 2000 miles away from France, our afternoon started with: “Bonjour!” We just arrived in Saint Pierre et Miquelon, a French overseas territory. It is actually the only remains of the former colonial empire of New France still under French control.

At the southern coast of Newfoundland, five islands open the entrance of Fortune Bay. To explore these beautiful islands we had several options—from visiting the city and its very colorful houses and surroundings to taking to the water to learn of the hundreds of ship wrecks between the islands. This piece of New France has also been marked by its significant role in exporting alcohol to the United States during prohibition. I’ve learned many things while enjoying the scenic views of the coastline facing the strong waves and winds from the ocean.

Some of us jumped on a Zodiac to explor Ile aux Marins. These waters for many years held a treasure that enriched plates all over the world: cod! This beautiful island has been preserved and here we find the remains of the fisherman’s lifestyle and many stories to tell.

Looking at these almost flat islands facing the rough Atlantic ocean and very strong winds one can’t help to think: what can survive these conditions, how can life thrive here? However, this natural environment was fun to explore on a hike through rocks and tundra, following streams and lakes that led to great views from the top. The wind is so powerful here that trees barely grow and the ones that survive the cold and snow are short and bent. It’s a beautiful place!

What a great start to our expeditions! We are looking forward to our next adventures. 

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About the Author

Madalena Patacho


Madalena was born and raised in Portugal. Her childhood was spent in Belem, surrounded by Portuguese maritime monuments and history, always dreaming about exploring the oceans. Her love for nature has led her to study biology and later a Master’s in management of natural resources, specialized in ecotourism. She has lived on Príncipe Island, off the west coast of Africa, working with local communities on a responsible tourism project. She is inspired by the principles of ecotourism and is always looking for the best ways to contribute and leave a positive footprint everywhere.

About the Photographer

Madalena Patacho and Doug Loneman

Madalena Patacho and Doug Loneman

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